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In EV Popularity Contest, Tesla, BMW are Still Top of the Class

Posted by Dale Buss on August 8, 2014 12:17 PM

Electric-vehicle brands are rapidly bifurcating into haves and have-nots. There are Tesla and BMW, which seem to be the biggest "haves" at the moment in terms of sales, brand appeal, buzz and a future. And then there are Chevrolet Volt, Cadillac ELR, Nissan Leaf and the others that are becoming the resigned "have-nots."

Chevrolet CMO Tim Mahoney confirmed at an industry gathering in Michigan this week that General Motors will be debuting a new version of Volt, the original plug-in hybrid, next year at the Detroit Auto Show, and he promised significant improvements in design and technology, though not in range.

Yet, as Mahoney recently told brandchannel, GM has stopped holding out hope that Volt will become a mass-market vehicle anytime soon as the company has watched a continued decline in mainstream-market interest in the vehicle, with sales down by 9 percent so far this year compared with a year ago even though it still outsells Tesla's Model S.Continue reading...


Tesla Confirms Cheaper Model as California Jumps Into Gigafactory Race

Posted by Dale Buss on July 17, 2014 05:33 PM

The new face of Tesla finally is taking shape, with emerging details about its upcoming mainstream-priced sedan and its soon-to-be-built gigafactory beginning to emerge.

The electric vehicle-maker, which so far has fielded only the $70,000 Model S all-electric sports car, this week confirmed that it will launch a $35,000 Model III in 2017, a vehicle that finally will test whether even the sexy Tesla brand can make a truly general-market proposition out of all-electric vehicles. No automaker to date has been able to do that.

Speaking of sex, Tesla’s other upcoming vehicle is the Model X crossover, a falcon-winged, all-wheel-drive model that is set to be released early next year. Founder Elon Musk would prefer that the brand’s model lineup spell “S-E-X” – but Ford maintains the rights to “Model E,” and Musk hasn’t fought that so far. Maybe Musk will turn the “III” sideways on the new model and it’ll resemble an “E.”Continue reading...

brand news

In the News: Chrysler, LG, Microsoft and more

Posted by Dale Buss on November 21, 2013 09:21 AM

In the News

Chrysler eyes December IPO.

LG investigates "unauthorized spying" claims. 

Microsoft builds line of products, apparel around "Scroogled" marketing campaign.

Abercrombie & Fitch reports loss on weak sales.

British Airways fields billboard ads that interact with planes overhead.

CCTV grapples with ad slowdown in China.

Foursquare opens up home screen to big brands.

IKEA is investigated in France for labor issue.

McDonald's plans no national launch for McRib this year.

Mondelez invests $100 million in Czech biscuit plant and expands presence in Pakistan.Continue reading...

brand news

In the News: McDonald's, Barilla, BlackBerry and more

Posted by Dale Buss on September 27, 2013 09:33 AM

In the News

McDonald's draws praise for healthier-food initiative.

Barilla CEO apologizes for anti-gay comments.

BlackBerry loses nearly $1 billion in quarter as customers are urged to be cautious about company's future.

Allstate spreads "Mayhem" across social media.

Apple issues update for iOS 7 to fix lock-screen bug.

Bloomberg News shuffles management.

Chrysler fixes problem that had stalled output of new Jeep Cherokee.

Dove marketing execs take home 'Grand Brand Genius' award at Ad Week for viral 'Sketches' ad. 

Dunkin' Donuts launches t-shirt design contest.

EA settles suit but pauses NCAA game over outcome.

Eight O'Clock Coffee launches TV spots after seven-year hiatus.Continue reading...

green shoots

GM Slashes Price of Chevy Volt to Jolt US EV Sales

Posted by Dale Buss on August 6, 2013 12:43 PM

The number of Chevy Volts sold last month was fewer than the average number of Chevrolet Silverado pickups sold—in a single day. That factoid from a Wall Street Journal story is basically all you need to know to understand why General Motors just cut the sticker price of its Volt plug-in hybrid by $5,000, or about 13 percent, down to $35,000.

So anemic have been sales of the technologically revolutionary Volt—and of all-battery-powered electric vehicles—in the US market that Volt's price cut was only the latest gambit in what has become an all-out price war in the electrified-vehicle segment. Chevy was already selling 2012 models of Volt recently for promotional discounts of up to $5,000—and even of $4,000 on 2013 models—so the official price reduction really is only bowing to de facto lower prices in the car market anyway.

The Silverado remains GM's highest-profit vehicle, and the fact that a new version of the truck has just debuted this spring means margins are way up there—and so are sales. Meanwhile, Volt is no doubt GM's biggest money-losing vehicle. CEO Dan Akerson pledged to cut as much as $10,000 out of the cost of manufacturing Volt by next year, but that will only reduce the huge subsidies effectively paid on each sale of the vehicle by GM and the US taxpayer, in the form of federal tax credits of as much as $7,500 on each unit, with state tax credits to boot.Continue reading...

Nissan Plans to Boost 'Range Confidence' with Leaf Quick Chargers at Dealerships

Posted by Dale Buss on July 10, 2013 07:16 PM

Nissan finally addressed one of the biggest obstacles to widespread acceptance of its Leaf electric vehicle, high prices, by introducing a price-reduced entry-level version. Now the brand is making a more earnest effort to whittle away at the other major concern about Leaf held by mainstream American car buyers: "range anxiety."

The company announced that it plans to install more than 100 public DC chargers at dealers certified to sell Leafs in 21 US markets. The units can charge the Leaf from depleted to about 80 percent power in about 30 minutes.

In so doing, Nissan will take yet another step to make chargers more widely available and reduce concerns that Leaf owners and potential buyers have about running out of juice because there aren't enough charging locations within the vehicle's relatively short range. Leaf sales have more than doubled this year compared with a year earlier but remain way below Nissan's initial expectations despite continued $3-a-gallon-plus gasoline prices.Continue reading...

green shoots

Auto Brands Dominate Global Green Initiatives, New Report Says

Posted by Dale Buss on June 12, 2013 01:51 PM

No industry is in the environmental spotlight like autos. It transformed the globe and remains the most impactful on the planet and on humanity.

That's why it's especially encouraging to see car companies stepping up around the world to the sustainability challenge, certainly in how they're approaching the environmental impact of their vehicles but also in a myriad other ways including engineering and design, manufacturing practices, future-product planning and even marketing.

In fact, auto makers hold four of the top five spots in Interbrand's Best Global Green Brands 2013 report: No. 1 Toyota, No. 2 Ford, No. 3 Honda, and No. 5 Nissan.Continue reading...

brand innovation

Musk Riffs On Plans for Affordable Tesla as EV Backers Keep Growing

Posted by Dale Buss on May 30, 2013 04:41 PM

Elon Musk already invented one digital-age business, is well on his way to creating another, and now has his sights set on fathering yet a third: affordable, appealing electric cars.

The co-founder of PayPal, which originated digital currency on a broad scale, and the CEO of SpaceX, which is trying to make space travel mainstream, has run into a recent winning streak with his other company, Tesla Motors. Bouncing high off the low of a tussle with The New York Times over the winter about the charge-holding capabilities of the Tesla Model S, Musk recently has made the company profitable for the first time, sold more than 4,000 Model S units in the first quarter, and paid off a $452 million federal government "green" loan early.

Investors have shown their appreciation by bidding up Tesla stock. Musk is talking about what kind of company might eventually want to acquire Tesla, and he's become a media darling once again.Continue reading...

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